Women’s safety, UK could emulate UAE - GulfToday

Women’s safety, UK could emulate UAE

Women Safety in Britain

People hold placards as they attend a protest at the Trafalgar Square, following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard, in London, Britain. File/Reuters

The Sarah Everard case has catapulted the issue of women’s safety to the fore. Everard vanished while walking from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, to her home in Brixton on March 3.

Just over a week later, police confirmed a Metropolitan Police officer was charged with her kidnap and murder. A woman was also arrested in connection with the incident. Everard was a 33-year-old who lived in Brixton, south London, but was originally from York. She is believed to have had a 15-minute phone call with her boyfriend Josh Lowth before she disappeared.

Her family said her disappearance was completely out of character.

What was also completely out of character was the police reaction to the thousands who gathered around an island of flowers in Clapham Common to mourn Everard. Officers forcibly removed women from the vigil. The force said it had to act to protect the health of the people.

The official in charge of the police force in London is a woman, Dame Cressida Dick, who has rebuffed calls for her resignation after the incident.

The mourners were seething with anger. Crowds also assembled outside Scotland Yard on Sunday afternoon before marching to Parliament Square to pay tribute to Everard, calling for an end to violence against women and condemn the police action.

The incident has made one thing very clear: that women in Britain are not safe walking on the streets alone, especially at night. There were 118 women who were murdered by men in the UK last year, according to Labour Party legislator Jess Phillips.

After the Everard incident, women flooded social media with posts about the steps they take when out alone at night to keep safe, including clutching keys to use as a weapon and wearing trainers to help them run.

Women are not safe in other parts of the world too. The fact that they are vulnerable and still considered the weaker gender makes them prime targets of depraved males. Nearly a decade ago, in a gruesome incident, a student was horrifically gangraped in a bus in Delhi that shocked the whole country. Since then, state spending to combat violence against women and girls has been “grossly inadequate”, Oxfam India said.

A fund named after the 23-year-old woman who was raped and killed in 2012 is low on resources and underutilised, found the “Towards Violence Free Lives for Women” report - noting that a rape takes place every 15 minutes in the country of 1.3 billion.

Safety is the biggest concern for women using public and private transport in five of the world’s biggest commuter cities, including London and New York, according to a poll in 2018.

The whole issue focuses on men’s behaviour towards women, including gazing at them for a long period, catcalling, or even making advances towards them. But it would wrong to portray all men as aggressors or rapists. Tarring all with the same brush is a wrong exercise in stereotyping.

Where women’s safety is concerned, the UK could take a leaf, or many leaves, out of the book of the UAE on women’s safety. Here the authorities pull out all plugs to ensure that the streets are safe for women. It’s only in this country where a woman can venture out after midnight to meet a friend or to a get-together, or walk alone on the road without the chances of any man attacking or molesting her. It speaks volumes for the extremely high level of security in this nation. Many female residents living here will vouch for this.

Related articles

Other Articles